I absolutely love lasagna. However, if you read my post on my favorite easy, meat lasagna, you’ll know that I’m pretty picky about my lasagna. No ricotta or cottage cheese allowed, and it has to have the perfect blend of meats, spices, sauce, and cheeses that I like. I never buy lasagna at restaurants because it’s always full of things I don’t like. It’s one of the only things I’m really picky about!
Because of this pickiness, I’m not usually willing to make adjustments to my mom’s lasagna recipe. I mean, why mess with perfection? But, one day, I was perusing Pinterest, and I came across this recipe for zucchini lasagna from Skinny Taste, and it really intrigued me. I didn’t care much for the sauce recipe, but the thought of using zucchini instead of lasagna noodles was tempting. The more I thought about, the more it made sense to me. I felt like it could definitely still taste like lasagna…but a whole lot healthier!
My sister-in-law, Doris, and a friend were coming over for dinner on Sunday, and I decided it would be the perfect time to make it. Because, you know, that’s always the best time to try out new recipes. So the day before, I went to the store and bought some zucchini. Or at least, I thought I did. When I checked out, I didn’t seem to care that the price rang up differently from what the sign side, or that the “zucchini” I bought didn’t have a stem like most zucchini had. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I had bought cucumber. Not zucchini.
Can I still pretend I have pregnancy brain?
I was SO sad. And since it was Sunday, I wasn’t going to go to the store and get one, so I put out a desperate plea on Facebook for zucchini. Which no one responded to. Fortunately, my sister-in-law had a zucchini, and I was able to borrow it. As such, I was only able to make about half of our lasagna with zucchini. So, blonde/tired mom moment on my part, but I was happy I was still able to try out the zucchini/pasta switch.
And the verdict? I really couldn’t even tell the difference. If anything, I may have liked it more than regular pasta. Even if you don’t like zucchini, I wouldn’t totally count this idea out. It has the same texture and consistency of pasta, but not the carbs! And, I didn’t feel bad eating more of it. So, win-win all around. My favorite, perfect lasagna recipe, just tweaked a little bit, is even better than before.
I included instructions in the recipe on how to prepare the zucchini, but I’ll do a little recap here. Zucchini has A LOT of moisture, so you need to prepare it a specific way. First, you’ll need to cut thin (about 1/8″ thick slices) of the zucchini, which is most easily done with a mandolin. Then, lay the slices out on a paper towel and sprinkle salt on them; let them sit for about 10 minutes. Finally, get rid of the excess moisture, and grill them on the stove top (preferably with a grill pan, but a skillet will do) for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Also, a few notes on the ingredients. I typically would use ground beef, but in an attempt to make it healthier, I used ground turkey. Couldn’t tell a difference. I also recently discovered Jimmy Dean All Natural Sausage at Costco. Not only does not contain nitrates, but it’s the cheapest place I’ve found for sausage. I also really like Honeysuckle white turkey sausage, which makes it even better-for-you. I also loved using Ragu sauces in any pasta dish I make, because they are so hearty and have lots of veggies in them! All these things combined together make a winning combination!
Check out this page if you need another delicious lasagna recipe idea. We have tons!
Zesty Zucchini Lasagna
- 3 medium zucchini
- 3/4 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 pound Jimmy Dean All Natural Sausage or ground turkey sausage
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 26 ounce spaghetti sauce I prefer Ragu Mushroom and Green Pepper
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup Kraft Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cups Kraft Colby and Monterrey Jack blend
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the zucchini by cutting thin, long slices (using a mandolin is the easiest way to do this.) Place on a paper towel and sprinkle with cheese to draw out the extra moisture for 10 minutes. On a grill pan (or skillet), grill zucchini slices on each side for about a minute. Set aside.
In a frying pan, fry ground turkey and onion until browned, and then add in the onion and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn heat down and add in spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, oregano, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
In a 9x13 pan, lay down one layer of zucchini strips. Ladle half of the meat sauce on top, sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and then 1 cup of colby/jack cheese. Place another layer of zucchini, meat sauce, and Parmesan cheese, but this time, finish with the cup of Mozzarella cheese.
Cover with tin foil, and baked for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 additional minutes, or until cheese is completely melted.